Design & SimulationAugust 5, 2020

Functional Design of Satellite Communication (SATCOM) Antennas

Passenger aircraft communicate with satellites to facilitate in-flight entertainment. Bringing high speed…
Avatar
Deepak Goyal
Dr. Goyal is a Senior Technical Specialist, currently playing the role of simulation consultant in SIMULIA's Aerospace & Defense Industry growth team. He received his M.S. & Ph.D. degrees in Aerospace Engineering at Texas A&M University in August 2003 & December 2007 respectively. He is a recipient of American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) open topic graduate award in the year 2006. In academia, he has conducted extensive FAA, NASA & AFOSR funded research in tape laminated composites, textile composites & materials with complex microstructures. Since January 2008, he has been working with Dassault Systèmes SIMULIA Corp. where he has provided training & consulting services to SIMULIA’ s customers in various industries. Dr. Goyal has published several journal papers in highly reputed peer-reviewed international journals and has also reviewed scholarly articles of other researchers for leading journals in the area of Composites Materials.

Passenger aircraft communicate with satellites to facilitate in-flight entertainment. Bringing high speed Internet into the cabin enables everything from email and social media to online shopping. A recent survey by Honeywell Aerospace concluded that two-thirds of airline passengers are choosing flights that have Wi-Fi on board. The global in-flight entertainment and connectivity market size was valued at approximately $5.9 billion in 2019.

The system on the aircraft that makes all this possible is called the Satellite Communication (SATCOM) system and it consists mainly of two separate antenna modules, one for transmitting and one for receiving. They operate in the 14 to 14.5 Gigahertz frequency band and thus need to be extremely small, as small as a peanut.

But how can such a small antenna transmit data to a satellite 36,000 kilometers away in outer space?

Well, the SATCOM antenna is not just one individual antenna, but instead is a cluster of identical pea-sized antennas all operating together at the same frequency, and they are more commonly known as Antenna Arrays. Most traditional small antennas radiate a limited amount of power, and the radiation is far from focused. This limits the coverage distance of antenna radiation.

The SATCOM transmitting antenna produces a narrow focused beam, almost as if it’s aiming for the satellite and emits all the radiation only in a specific direction. Moreover, if the link is momentarily lost, these arrays, with the help of control systems, can automatically scan for the satellite by maneuvering the beam in all directions, and once found, they can lock the radiated beam onto the targeted satellite.

.


SIMULIA offers an advanced simulation product portfolio, including AbaqusIsightfe-safeToscaSimpoe-MoldSIMPACKCST Studio SuiteXFlowPowerFLOW and more. The SIMULIA Learning Community is the place to find the latest resources for SIMULIA software and to collaborate with other users. The key that unlocks the door of innovative thinking and knowledge building, the SIMULIA Learning Community provides you with the tools you need to expand your knowledge, whenever and wherever.

Stay up to date

Receive monthly updates on content you won’t want to miss

Subscribe

Register here to receive a monthly update on our newest content.